Knowledge and understanding
PUBLISHED: 12:03 27 May 2014
Loraine Guest, the headteacher of Maldon Court Preparatory School, would like to step into government, if she wasn’t in the classroom, but still feels there is no room for politics in education
If you hadn’t become a teacher, what career would you have chosen instead?
It’s difficult for me to imagine any other career. Teaching is a privilege and opening the hearts and minds of young people and watching them grow in confidence and maturity is something I would struggle to find in any other career. If I had to choose another career path, I’d have to say I’d like to become the Secretary of State for Education. The role is crying out for someone who really appreciates the importance of teaching and learning. I’d love to bring my knowledge and understanding to the role.
Who would you most like to have as a pupil, if you could pick anyone?
I would have loved to have Desmond Tutu as a pupil at my school. His lifelong dedication in standing up for the oppressed is truly inspirational. He also has a glint in his eye and it would have been great to see what sort of mischief he was up to.
Was there any type of school dinner that you couldn’t stand?
Semolina. It sill gives me the creeps to think of it and it is never on the menu at my school.
What was your least favourite lesson?
I look back at my education with fondness, but if I were to pick a subject that I enjoyed the least it would have to be music. I was never given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and so I always felt at a disadvantage. At Maldon Court all children are given the chance to learn a huge variety of musical instruments. Whenever I watch one of our school’s musical performances I always feel that I have missed out by not learning to play.
If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would be the first thing you’d do?
I’d appoint a Secretary of State for Education who had a knowledge and love of educating our children. There is no room for politics in education, it is about inspiring children and valuing individuals, it is not about labels and league tables.
Which musical track would you want with you if you were marooned on a desert island?
Almost all of my friends and colleagues know about my love for Rod Stewart. I have all his albums and even read out the words to Forever Young at our annual leavers’ assembly. If I had to take one disc of his it would be Foot Loose and Fancy Free.
What would you like to make disappear from this world?
When I traveled to Singapore I was amazed at how clean it was. Chewing gum is banned and there is a heavy fine for selling it or spitting it out on the street. It plays a small part in making the country so attractive, so I would ban chewing gum.
Is there a television programme that you make sure you never miss?
Pointless. I love thinking of obscure answers and am always delighted when I think of one. I record every episode and watch it when I get home every day.
What is your favourite film of all time and why?
I would really recommend Être et Avoir (To Be and To Have). It is a French documentary film following a small village school where children aged four to 10 are taught every subject by an extraordinary teacher. I see something different each time I watch it. n
How do you relax away from work?
I love to visit the spa and read a good book while relaxing. I am very lucky to be able to spend lots of time with my grandchildren and I treasure every moment.
What is special about your school?
My school is a small, friendly, proprietorial school where every child is valued for their own intrinsic worth. Every child brings something different to the school and they all succeed in whatever they do. We achieve this through a nurturing environment where everyone knows each other and where strengths are noticed and acted upon. The pupils make me proud every day and despite being the headteacher for 12 years, I am constantly amazed at their achievements.
Did you know?
Maldon Court is not academically selective. The school academic attainment profile is well above the national average, with some Form 6 pupils (11 years old) leaving here with levels in English and maths that are comparable to GCSE grade C – a remarkable achievement for children so young. Even the school inspectors thought we must be academically selective to achieve this, but we are not. It is all done through outstanding teaching and learning.
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Maldon Court Preparatory School
Silver Street, Maldon
Essex CM9 4QE